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How IT Security Leaders Get the Most Out of GSX: Insights from Grace Crickette and Angel Hueca


When Grace Crickette jumps into something, you better believe it’s going to be with both feet.

The vice chancellor of finance and administration at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, Crickette was invited by a colleague to serve as a panelist at a 2019 GSX conference session. Her conference experience ignited an excitement for the ASIS community, which led to her current service as the chair of the ASIS Information Technology Security Steering Committee.

With the COVID-19 pandemic interference, she attended digital GSX a couple of times, but had to miss last year because of a conflict. She says she is happy to be coming back to her second live GSX in 2023.

Crickette’s range of responsibility spans physical security, IT security, and facilities and physical project management, and she adds that she plans to seek knowledge that spans all three areas at GSX.

23-sm-gsx-dailymy-plan-hueca-200x250.jpgFor Angel Hueca, vice chair of the IT Security Steering Committee, this will be his first GSX experience. A senior cybersecurity operations researcher at the CERT Coordination Center for Carnegie Mellon University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Hueca brings a decidedly IT perspective to ASIS. He has the distinctive ability to see how physical security and cybersecurity intertwine and intersect, and it’s that lens he brings to his first GSX.

The GSX Daily caught up with Crickette and Hueca to ask them about how they are approaching their GSX experience.

Do they have a morning preparation routine?

For Crickette, it’s straightforward: grab a coffee, drink her electrolyte water, and head to the convention center.

For Hueca, while this is his first GSX, he is of course no stranger to professional conferences. He will wake up, have tea, get a workout in, and eat breakfast before jumping into a plan of sessions and vendors he has mapped out for the day.

Since both have flights on Wednesday, part of the Tuesday night and Wednesday morning routine will be packing.



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What sessions have caught their attention?

Hueca said he identified a couple of sessions on leadership and management skills—you may have seen him in the audience if you attended Monday’s “Soft Skills: The Foundation of Security Work” session.

“IT is often accused of not being able to speak to our stakeholders. We revert to technical jargon, so learning how to communicate better is critically important,” he said.

One of the Wednesday sessions on Crickette’s list is “Preparing for the Next Era of Ransomware.” “We’ve had all types of cybersecurity incidents, but have not been hit with ransomware yet,” she said. She hopes the session will help her be a little more prepared if it does happen.

She said she also plans to attend “Optimizing the Intersection of Cyber and Physical Security.” She oversees both and they are conjoined at her university, but there is always potential room for improvement.

What advice do they have for getting the most out of GSX?

Both Crickette and Hueca mentioned the GSX mobile app and the importance of preplanning. Asking Crickette what advice she would give to Hueca, her primary message was to be flexible.

One of her important takeaways from her 2019 experience was engaging others in conversation, learning about a session that wasn’t on her radar, and getting excited about it.

“I love that about GSX,” she says. “At a lot of technology conferences, you can’t just choose to go to a different session. With GSX you have the flexibility to go to whatever session you want. Spontaneous discoveries can happen.”

Do they have goals for the exhibit hall?

Crickette says she has both a specific goal and a general one.

Her general goal harkens back to her 2019 experience. At the exhibit hall at GSX in Chicago, Crickette ran into colleagues she used to work with and reconnected with those individuals. She looks forward to renewing that connection this year and is hopeful there may be more to discover.

As for the specific goal, Crickette says she’ll be reviewing some access control solutions on the show floor.

“We are little behind the times,” she said. “We still have some lock-and-key facilities that need to be converted to access cards, so I’m going to look at some of the access control vendors. And I want to learn about some of the drone technology.”

Hueca admits he’s not sure what to expect in the GSX exhibit hall, but he is interested in the Cybersecurity Pavilion and learning more about companies that span the physical and cyber spaces.


What else do they hope to accomplish at the meeting?

As the chair and vice chair of the IT Security Steering Committee, Crickette and Hueca are excited about the community meet-and-greet sessions taking place at the ASIS Hub.

“We want to talk to some of the other community leaders to learn how we can collaborate and see if there is a way for us to add value to things they want to do as a community,” Crickette said.

In addition, Hueca is involved with the ASIS Boston Chapter, and he made plans to meet up with the chapter president at GSX.

How do they plan to keep momentum going after GSX?

For Hueca, his post-GSX plans involve ensuring that he uses the GSX experience to grow his professional network.

“It’s so important to have people you can reach out to,” he said. “They can be a sounding board or potentially a collaboration partner.”

The key is follow-up. It’s one thing to have an interesting conversation with someone at a conference. Following up with them after the conference is what leads to a growing network.

Crickette also adds that she expects to return to her team after GSX with lots of learning material to review.

“I already have too many ideas, and I will come back [from GSX] with a lot more,” Crickette says. “I’ll probably drive my direct reports in physical and IT security crazy!”

What’s the best way for conference meet-ups to reach out to them?

Both Hueca and Crickette are big users of LinkedIn—as Crickette says, with her name she’s easy to find. They endorse connections and correspondence using the social platform.

Scott Briscoe is the content development director at ASIS International, publisher of Security Management and the GSX Daily. Connect with him at [email protected].